Viz Media does a pretty decent job of spreading out its license announcements. They aren’t always big or mind-blowing, but at all three conventions in July they made sure they had something to for fans to look forward to, and I think that in itself is pretty cool.
Maid-Sama is a license rescue from Tokyopop. It was a series they launched after their restructuring in 2008 and they published 8 volumes before shutting down publication in 2011. While a lot of Viz’s rescues are digital only, this title is not only getting a print release, it is coming out as 2-in-1 omnibuses. This should get the series through the previous published material fast and into the unpublished that fans will really be looking for.
Viz is a little late in getting this press release out. Not only did the series come out at the beginning of July, but pre-release copies were sold at Anime Expo. Better late than never though, right? I’m interested in this series, and hope my copy will arrive soon. I’ve seen people seeing it’s similar to Kamisama Kiss, but since I like that series too, I can only see this as a good thing.
It’s been a long time coming to finally see this series in print. New digital volumes always did really well on the Vizmanga site, so it’s surprising it’s taken this long to get it in print. I’ve heard a lot of people go on about how great and funny this series is and since it does do well even as a digital only release I shouldn’t be surprised, but I can’t say I was impressed with the few chapters I read in WSJ back in January. Maybe that just wasn’t a good place to start.
I already discussed these new licenses in my Anime Expo manga roundups. I’ll give the two new shojo manga, Behind the Scenes and Shuriken and Pleats a try. It would be nice to find a good Drama club manga. I could do without another Dragon Ball Z release just to add some color. I also really want to read School Judgement: Gakkyu Hotei. I really enjoyed the few chapters I read in Shonen Jump back in January, so I’m thrilled it’s coming out in print.
Didn’t I just write about this last week? Oh, wait, that was for Anime Expo! SDCC usually doesn’t come this early, and it leaves fans and companies with barely any down time before they’re packing up for the next show. At least it’s only a 2 hour drive between LA and San Diego. With SDCC being the bigger of the two cons, Viz has more activities planned for SDCC, with more giveaways at their booth, more panels and some con exclusives that SDCC is becoming just as known for. Badger a friend who’s going to get you some.
When Viz Media announced the license of the new Ultraman manga, it was a big deal by itself. But this new announcement that they are bringing the creators of the manga to SDCC just levels the awesome up a notch. The new series, which will be available for purchase early at the con along with a collectible Ultraman figure, will have its own panel, and there will be plenty of opportunities to have that early release manga signed with several autograph sessions. It’s too late to try to get into SDCC now, but if you know someone going to the con, badger them incessantly to attend these events for you, and live vicariously through them!
Back in 2013, Drawn and Quarterly introduced Western readers to Kitaro, a yokai boy who grew up in a grave yard and is the last of the Ghost Clan. Kitaro is the creation of Shigeru Mizuki, the mangaka who is credited with the yokai boom that started back in the 1960s. The 400+ volume was a collection of some of Kitaro’s best stories and was named as one of YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2014.
Drawn Quarterly has now announced that they will be releasing 7 more volumes of Kitaro, and packaging them in more “kid-friendly” size and price. Kitaro follows the adventures of an inhuman boy who straddles the line between the world of the living and the supernatural. He helps both humans and yokai, who are troubled by either other humans and yokai. The first volume announced is “The Birth of Kitaro”, and features stories about Kitaro’s origins, introduces popular recurring character Neko Musume, a girl who turns into a cat when she is hungry or angry, as well as drawing heavily on Japanese folklore. Kitaro will have to take on legendary yokai like Nopperabo and Makura Gaeshi, as well as recurring villain Gyuki.
The first volume will be out in March 2016, with successive new volumes coming out in the spring and fall through 2018. The other six titles have been announced as:
- Kitaro Meets Nurarihyon
- The Great Tanuki War
- Kitaro’s Strange Adventures
- Kitaro the Vampire Slayer
- Kitaro’s Yokai Battles
- Trial of Kitaro
Each volume will be about 150 pages and will retain for $12.95. It appears each volume will be a collection, collecting similar stories to create a theme. The stories will all be translated by Zack Davisson, who also translated the first volume, and who is a big avocate for Kitaro and Shigeru Mizuki. Critics have wondered why Drawn and Quarterly would release more Kitaro after the first volume didn’t sell as well, but the first volume was designed for older fans and collectors that can afford a higher price point for a thicker volume. By making the books smaller and at a lower price point, it can attract younger fans who have been discovering yokai their other manga like Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan and Black Bird, and may be looking for similar titles. And you know it’s not just teens that will be picking up these books. Older fans have been clamoring for more Kitaro, and finally their wish has been granted.
It’s the 4th of July next week, so that means just one thing; it’s time for Anime Expo! I’ve never been to Anime Expo, with my diverse interests and limitation of one convention a year being taken up by Wondercon, but it seems I’ll have plenty of time to plan to possibly attend since it’s been announced AX will be staying in LA for the next 5 years. Viz Media likes to come down for the con, and they’ve got plenty of things planned, including pre-street manga, exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh cards, raffle for Shojo Beat’s 10th Anniversary, panel and autograph session with mangaka Julietta Suzuki and a day just for Sailor Moon! Start making your plans now if you intend on attending.
Despite my growing finickiness with shonen titles, this one sounds like it might be fun. I naturally gravitate toward supernatural titles, and with both action and romantic elements, it sounds like it might not be too bad. I do enjoy titles where the couples are competitive, so I hope these two get strung along for a while, but please don’t let it turn into a harem like Nisekoi.
I’d heard about this series when the anime came out, and was curious, until I read about how graphic it was, and was about the flesh-eating undead. Not my cup of tea. But fans of the series have been pre-ordering this series like gangbusters, even with releasing the digital version early, so Viz has another potential hit on their hands. This is one series I’ll have to watch from the sidelines, but readers with no qualms about characters that don’t eat just brains, but the rest as well should check this series out.
Viz has raided the old Tokyopop vaults to come up with three new titles to debut under their Select digital imprint. Welcome to the N.H.K. was one of the first light novel manga adaptations to come to the states, and arrived shortly after the anime, giving the title a lot of name recognition. Aion is by Yuna Kagesaki, the creator of Chibi Vampire. This follow-up didn’t do as well as Chibi Vampire, a sentiment I agree with. I didn’t find the first volume all that great. Metamo Kiss is by a mangaka not previously published here, and is a gender/body switching shojo, if you’re into that sort of thing.
They’ve got some good bundles this month too. Saint Seiya, Knights of the Zodiac, is an awesome series that didn’t get the love it deserved in print. That can be corrected with one of the two bundles they have available: vol 1-14, or the whole thing, 1-28. Also available is the older teen historical, time travel series Red River, filled with action and romance. A very addictive series. I recommend both!